Friday, November 10, 2006
You be the judge! Tonight we heard that statement over a dozen times on all the news shows. The sad thing is that the average Joe who watches the selected 19 seconds of this arrest will come away shocked and outraged. We put this video up here because we know you the professional police officer will come away with the same opinion as we did "reasonable force was used to effect the arrest"
According to testimony at Cardenas' preliminary hearing, Schlegel (identified officer) said he and his partner were in their patrol car when they spotted Cardenas drinking beer with two friends on the corner of Fountain Avenue and Gordon Street. Schlegel said he recalled that Cardenas had a warrant for failing to appear on a charge of receiving stolen property. In later testimony, a transcript of which was obtained by The Times, a gang expert identified Cardenas as a member of the Gordon Street Locos.
Farrell (identified officer) yelled for the men to put their hands up, but Cardenas took off and they chased him a short distance. Schlegel said he caught up with Cardenas, tripped him, then pushed him in the back, "causing him to fall forward, and his face bounced off the sidewalk."
Schlegel said he got on top of Cardenas, who then tried to hit him with his right fist and left elbow. Schlegel said Farrell caught up to them and joined the struggle.
Schlegel said Cardenas was "grabbing at me, at my clothes. He grabs at my belt, I could feel my belt being tugged on, my holster move." Farrell warned his partner to watch his gun and punched Cardenas twice, according to Schlegel. Cardenas complained two or three times that he couldn't breathe, "but we're not going to let him up. He's gonna get away," Schlegel testified.
The officer said he then used pepper spray on Cardenas and called for backup. The officer testified that he was cut on his right little finger and that Farrell hurt his left thumb and had difficulty closing his right hand, which also had a cut knuckle.
Commissioner Ronald Rose, in ordering Cardenas to trial, found that "the response of the officers was more than reasonable under the circumstances."
Rose acknowledged the video was violent, but said, "The issue here is not whether the officers had to use force. The question is whether or not the defendant used force in resisting the lawful arrest, and I find that he did resist, using force."
Rose went on, "The obligation of citizens is to stop and allow themselves to be arrested and not use force against the officers. And when a citizen chooses to use force against the officers, they are entitled to use force in return."
Rose noted the officers did not draw their weapons in the video, and said there was no testimony they used a baton or weapon "which might have resulted in death or serious injury to this defendant. At worst, they used their fist and they used their spray."
Police action recorded at poor quality from one angle frequently is unclear and misrepresents the story," said Bob Baker of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. "This is why it is important to know all the facts in a case and not rush to judgment."
But the ACLU's Ripston said the LAPD's handling of the incident had eroded public confidence in the department.
AHHHHH yes the ACLU.... You take 19 selected seconds of an arrest of a convicted felon whose goal at this time is to make good his escape by fleeing, battering and possibly attempting to disarm an officer and your confidence is eroded. We can only hope one of these self righteous ACLU types is the victim of an in progress crime and upon arrival of the police the offender flees and the coppers just watch him run. Would that build your confidence?